Ice-related presentations on the rise

Launceston CIB Detective Inspector Scott Flude with some of the haul from Operation Crimson, which netted more than $1 million in drugs this month.

Launceston CIB Detective Inspector Scott Flude with some of the haul from Operation Crimson, which netted more than $1 million in drugs this month.

HEALTH sector advocates have reported a rise in ice-related presentations to Tasmanian emergency departments over the past six months.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation state secretary Neroli Ellis said a ``sharp rise'' in Launceston General Hospital presentations related to the highly-addictive methamphetamine had presented challenges for nursing staff.

Mrs Ellis said the presentations were generally occurring at night, when there were fewer nurses rostered on.

``The nurses all reported that safety is an issue as these patients can be quite violent, volatile and unpredictable,'' Mrs Ellis said.

``Security is now required and utilised 24 hours a day.

``There is also a flow-on effect to the mental health ward as patients require detox and psychiatric stabilisation.''

The National Drugs Household Strategy, released on Thursday, revealed that daily methamphetamine use in Australia had almost doubled since 2010.

The drug can cause ruptured blood vessels in the brain, memory-loss, indecision, depression, psychosis, aggression and violence.

Australian Medical Association state president Tim Greenaway said  he had also heard anecdotally of a rise in ice-related presentations at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

``It's noticeable, but the exact numbers we don't have,'' Dr Greenaway said.

``I do know of at least one death.''

But manager of Missiondale residential recovery program, Rob Koops, said he hadn't noticed a marked increase in ice users.

Mr Koops said of the 30 people on Missiondale's waiting list, just five were potentially related to ice.

``People that are coming to us are still mostly using alcohol and cannabis,'' Mr Koops said.

Alcohol and Drug Service clinical director Adrian Reynolds said while methamphetamine use was worrying, alcohol and smoking-related harms were a far greater area of concern.

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